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I'm Just Plain Tired!

So many caregivers say they are constantly tired. The cause is clear: too much to do and too little time for rest.  If your sleep schedule is interrupted while providing care, you have a recipe for problems, unless the interruptions are short-term.

If you are assuming full-time care for a parent, the workload can be extreme. An example of a manageable scenario would be a parent living with you who sleeps through the night.  But a single person cannot provide sustained, 24-hour care for more than a few weeks without an impact on or his or her health. Care should notbe assumed if a parent’s stay creates circumstances where a reasonable amount of sleep for the caregiver is impossible. 
So what do you do if you have taken on more than you can handle? You will need to find time-saving solutions to give yourself the sleep or respite you need.

This Is How I Would Approach the Situation

1.  Take inventory:

Write down everything that is going on in a week for you.  List all of your tasks including work.  Make sure to include personal tasks and things such as bathing, laundry, meal preparation, drive time, etc. List it all!
2. Assign a time to each task.  

Time the list of tasks you just wrote down.  Next to the task, write down how long it takes to shower, prep a meal, drive to work, fold the laundry, do the dishes, etc.


  • Shower: 10min
  • Breakfast Self: 10min
  • Breakfast Mom: 10min
  • Travel to work: 30min

3.  Next, determine which, if any, of those tasks can go away. 

By “away” I mean giving them to someone else, paying to have them done, or eliminating them all together.  Sleep is the one task that is non-negotiable. If you are not getting somewhere near eight hours a night something needs to give.

4.  Take action. 

You may need a conversation with your spouse, children, parent, and in some cases with yourself.  No one gets more than 24 hours in their day. That is all you get.  You must use it wisely.  Now, if you give a task away, do not take it back.  Make it clear to family that when they commit they need to follow through.

Please note that taking on caregiving can be a very tiring commitment, and often we take on more than we can reasonably do, especially working women.  Take the time to thoroughly evaluate what you are doing and how it can be done differently.

About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

RN / CEO - Emeritus

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